The Sunday Service for March 24 will be the conclusion of the Spring Mississippi Unitarian Universalist Cluster Gathering! For the first time, all 4 Mississippi UU Congregations will be doing a parallel worship service with readings and reflections from the gathering. The Cluster gathering is from March 22-24 in Jackson, MS and on Sat. March 23, the participants will start the day by visiting the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum. Our reflections will be on our shared history here in Mississippi and what gifts Unitarian Universalism can bring to our hurting world. Register for the gathering here:
What Does It Mean To Be
A People of Journey?
We UUs love to tell our journey stories. And hear each other’s journey stories. Whereas other religions have newcomers stand up and confess their fallen ways or declare a commitment to one way, we invite each other to talk about how our way is like no other.
It’s a curious thing when you think about it. We welcome people to our fold not by asking them to commit to thinking exactly as the group does, but by having them declare how their journey is not like anybody else in the group. It’s about space not similarity. We bind ourselves to each other not by sharing the same journey but by offering each other the room to discover the unique journey that fits us. It’s about making room for people to write their own stories.
Or maybe it’s about making room for people to re-write their stories.
It’s become popular in our society to talk about spiritual journeys as a process of living into your full or true self. That’s a helpful frame. And yet there’s something deep within UUism that resists it. Historically, we’ve been the people that struggled not so much to find ourselves but to untangle ourselves from the religious identities we were given. Our spiritual journeys did not begin with a blank slate; they began with the hunger to wipe the slate clean and begin anew.
So we have this important awareness that spiritual journeys are not simply about finding your true self, but also about untangling from your old self. We agree with Albert Schweitzer who wrote:
“The path of awakening is not about becoming who you are. Rather it is about unbecoming who you are not.”
Which means we are also sensitive to the fact that most spiritual journeys begin with a leaving, a separation, a decision to walk away. We know that the first step is often laced with mourning and isolation. We know that “unbecoming” is not easy work.
We also know that it isn’t a one-time thing. We find ourselves routinely tangled up in all kinds of identities and journeys that aren’t truly ours. “Unbecoming who you are not” is a journey we walk every day.
So what does all this mean for us this month? Well, first, it’s an important reminder that we’re not just here to help each other hold steady and persevere on our current paths; often our primary gift is to help each other find the exit ramps.
It also means remembering that being a people of journey involves tenderness. We are here not just to make room for each other’s unique stories; we are also here to make room for each other’s pain. Again, “unbecoming who you are not” involves bravely walking away, isolation and mourning. And so, if we are going to complete our journeys of unbecoming and becoming anew, we’re definitely going to need pitstops of kindness and tenderness along the way.
Kido Jimmyle Listenbee, Sensei, will speak about Zen journeys, weaving Basho's Haiku-filled The Narrow Road to the Deep North with her own journey northward and its return to Mississippi, including a few personal discoveries, expressed sometimes in Haiku. The brief talk will end with reflection by the congregation, and offer an opportunity for each person to express personal insights through juxtaposing concrete and metaphoric images in a few words.
Support UUCO during our Stewardship drive!! To plan for next year we ask members and friends to considering making a pledge to UUCO for the coming year. Pledges are promises to pay in the future. The fiscal year for UUCO is July 1-June 30 and the pledge drive for 2019-2020 is starting NOW!! Pledge packets are mailed to members and are available online as well. New this year: Pledging can also be completed on line by clicking below. Thank you for supporting UUCO and for helping this congregation to thrive!!
Blake Shedd will share his reflections on the upcoming calendar rituals and their significance for Unitarian Universalists.
Feb 24 will be the kickoff of our Stewardship Season featuring the "sermon on the amount"! Every year, we take time to plan financially for the coming year. This process has already started with the various committees thinking and dreaming about what it would take to live fully into our values and mission of UUCO. These are questions for everyone: How can we grow in being an intergenerational community that encourages spiritual growth and living our values of care and connection? How can we grow in our gifts to the wider community? Having a strong financial base is one part of the jigsaw puzzle! There will be multiple ways to be involved in Stewardship year. Y'all come!
As part of the month of "Trust," retired professor of Mathematics and Assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs, Dr. Donald R. Cole, will share insights and life experiences with our congregation.
As many of our members are moving into midlife or the elder stage of life some guideposts may be available from a surprising source. Rev. Gail Tapscott has been reading fairy tales and theories about them for years and will share some of the lesser known stories and their wisdom to help us negotiate the second half of life.
In these times when good news is hard to find and our core values and goals as Unitarian Universalists are being challenged in seemingly unprecedented ways, Hope may sometimes be hard to sustain. Ken believes fervently that “music with a message” is one magical avenue towards holding on to Hope. In this program he will share with us songs that he feels express that hope with inspiring lyrics and lovely melodies.